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Why You Need A VPN

Technology these days moves pretty fast and you still be wondering what a VPN is or why you would need one. A Virtual Private Network, otherwise called a VPN, is an important tool that’s used whenever you connect to a WiFi network. Let’s explore exactly what a virtual private network is and how it can protect you online.

What are Virtual Private Networks (VPNs)

There are a lot of great technological advances happening in the communications industry today. This is especially true in regards to wireless communication. Cell phones, internet routers, and IoT devices all communicate wirelessly. However, this wireless communication between devices is not always protected and because of this, you need a VPN.

A Virtual Private Network is actually a piece of software. When properly used it provides you privacy and anonymity anytime you browse or send data on the internet. You can either install a free VPN from open-source or the more popular method is by using a paid service.

How Virtual Private Networks Work

Although there have been huge advances in communications technology, the same old principles still apply. Some of the earliest forms of wireless communication were the short-wave radio and walkie-talkie. Much like these early devices modern wireless communication is still merely data that we send thru the airwaves. Also much like these early devices, someone can easily intercept the message or data simply by “listening” on a specific frequency or network.

The security of using a VPN comes from its ability to create a private network from an existing public internet connection. In a nutshell, a Virtual Private Network creates a new tunnel from the local network to another server, somewhere in the world, for your data. This not only hides your real IP address but also prevents others from being able to access your private files or data.

For more security, a VPN encrypts the data that is sent over a WiFi network and makes it unreadable. In order to protect your privacy and data, encrypting your online data while browsing is essential these days. When properly configured a VPN will hide your browsing history, your devices, IP address, location, and even streaming data.

Why You Need To Use A VPN

Surfing and browsing the web have become an everyday part of our lives, especially at a time when millions of people are working from home or remotely. As more people rely on WiFi for school and work the risk of private data leaks and hacking increases dramatically.

VPN For Public WiFi Networks

For some without reliable home internet, they have no choice but to rely on public WiFi networks. Places such as libraries or coffee shops have become popular options for folks looking for free public WiFi. However, these places offer limited to zero safety to users of the network. Checking emails, or scrolling thru social media content is not a very safe thing to do on public WiFi. Any person or agency can easily track your online activity on that network.

For this reason, you should either avoid using a public WiFi network or use a VPN to connect to one. Using a VPN will hide your browsing history as well as any account information like passwords from the public network or anyone trying to intercept the data.

VPN For Privacy On Home Network

It’s no secret that data is big business and big businesses want your data. With Edward Snowden exposing Verizon selling customer data to the NSA back in 2013, we have since realized to what extremes people will go to get your data. Even your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is more than ready and willing to go thru your online browsing history for a quick buck.

Using a VPN can help shield against your ISP’s privacy invasion by obscuring your device’s IP address. Also because your real IP address is not showing, when using certain apps like Facebook it can’t track online behavior to a specific IP.

For some people who work remotely using a VPN may be required if you are accessing your company’s intranet or a remote work server. By using a VPN you can lower the risk of data breaches and successful hacking attempts.

Finding A VPN And It’s Limits

In recent years the market for VPNs has exploded and there’s a large number of both free and paid VPN service providers available. It’s fair to say, like most things, not all VPNs are the same. Some offer more features or better protection, others cost more and some just flat out don’t have your best interest in mind.

Some things to consider when looking for a VPN service provider:

  • Privacy Policy – When picking a VPN provider make sure to check their privacy policy. Afterall, what good is using a service to protect your privacy when the company you’re using isn’t following secure practices like “no-logs”.
  • Location – Knowing the home country of the VPN provider and their servers can allow better understanding of the country’s laws regarding data. Some countries have laws that allow your data to be shared or turned over to the government.
  • Servers – Another thing to consider in addtion to the physical location is the number of servers worldwide the VPN provider owns. It’s important for the company to own its servers instead of renting them. When a server network has a problem, having as much control over those servers can help mitagate the issue much faster.

In addition, keep in mind that cost is an important factor as well. Even though all VPNs have limitations, a lot of free versions tend to be less secure and have even more limitations. These are just some things to consider and obviously, you may have other concerns. Most importantly there needs to be trust and transparency with whomever you decide to go with as a VPN provider.

Free

Now as previously mentioned, there are both free and paid VPN providers available. When it comes to using a free VPN, OpenVPN is a very secure option. OpenVPN is an open-source project that has been audited by professionals and has been determined to have one of the most secure VPN protocols available.

For most consumers, however, OpenVPN may prove to be too complex. OpenVPN must be installed manually onto a device. If there’s an update, again you have to manually install it. And then there’s the issue of having to properly configure the VPN to work as it should.

Most people lack either the time or required knowledge to configure OpenVPN properly, so the best option for most people is to use a paid service.

There are a number of reputable VPN providers who offer service subscriptions and each with its own set of pros and cons. However, when it comes to privacy and security, a top choice for paid VPN service is NordVPN.

NordVPN not only provides VPN services but also offers additional services for added privacy and security as well. Support for most mobile and desktop platforms means NordVPN can help keep your data secure anytime you connect to a network.

In addition to the great security and privacy features that come with the service, you also get 24/7 support. And although NordVPN is a paid service, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them for yourself risk-free.

The Limits Of A VPN

A Virtual Private Network is a valuable tool to have when it comes to providing privacy and data security. However, like any tool, if not used properly you can expect poor results. VPNs can hide almost all data about you but there are things VPNs can’t hide.

For example, browsing Facebook while using a VPN could illustrate behavior that can later lead to tailored content or ads. VPNs can also become subject to malware as well as online attack attempts. Even accepting cookies on a website while using a VPN can lead to the exposure of your browsing history.

To overcome most of these security and privacy limitations when using a VPN simply use the TOR browser in addition. By using the secure web browser of the TOR along with your VPN, you can enjoy knowing you have the ultimate protection for your data and privacy.

As the world becomes more data-driven, the risk of personal data being stolen only increases. So if you are serious about protecting your family, business, and your own data, then you really need a VPN.

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